Editor’s Note: The following is a brilliant response by the legendary Robert Faurisson to a question posed by an Italian journalist in 1979. Faurisson was one of the the first Holocaust revisionists and he published many articles for the Journal of Historical Review. He also wrote many letters to the French Newspaper Le Monde, and many of them were actually published! If you click on the sources below you will notice that the interviewer actually put a series of questions to Faurisson. Le Monde published only two texts of his, unlawfully refusing to publish the second “right of reply” letter.
Of course anyone who denies the sacred Holocaust is considered by the media as no different than a serial killer, and is given NO air time to tell their side, and will most likely be vigorously prosecuted by any legal means necessary, depending on what country they live in. Share this accurate and detailed response to anyone you know who still believes in the gas chamber myth. It’s time to clear Germany’s good name, and stop this insane guilt trip that has been placed on them.
QUESTION: Monsieur Faurisson, for some time now in France — and not only in France — you have found yourself at the center of a bitter controversy resulting from certain things which you have asserted on the subject of what is still one of the most somber pages in the history of the Second World War. We refer to the extermination of the Jews on the part of the Nazis. In particular, one of your assertions appears as dogmatic as it is incredible. Is it true that you deny that the gas chambers ever existed?
I assert, in fact, that these famous alleged homicidal “gas chambers” are nothing but a tall story of wartime. This invention of wartime propaganda is comparable to the widespread legends of the First World War about “Teutonic barbarism.” The Germans were then already accused (in the First World War) of completely imaginary crimes; of Belgian children with hands cut off; crucified Canadians; corpses turned into soap. The Germans, I suppose, said similar things about the French.
German concentration camps did really exist but the whole world knows that they were not original or unique to the Germans. Crematorium ovens have also existed in certain of these camps, but incineration is no more offensive or criminal than burial. The crematorium ovens even constitute progress from the sanitary point of view where there was a risk of epidemics. Typhus ravaged the whole of wartime Europe. The majority of corpses which are shown to us in photos are clearly the corpses of typhus victims. These photos illustrate the fact that the internees-and sometimes the guards-died of typhus. They prove nothing other than this. To exploit the fact that the Germans at times used crematorium ovens is not very honest. In asserting this one counts on the repulsion or feeling of unease and disquiet felt by people accustomed to burial and not to incineration. Imagine an oceanic population accustomed to burning its dead. Tell such a people that you bury your own and you will appear a kind of savage. Perhaps they would even suspect that in Europe persons “more or less alive” are placed in the earth! One displays one’s complete dishonesty when in the same way, one presents as homicidal “gas chambers” the fumigation chambers (autoclaves) which were in reality used for the disinfecting of garments by gas. This never clearly formulated accusation has now been almost totally abandoned, but in certain museums or in certain books we are still confronted with a photo of one of these autoclaves, sited at Dachau, with an American soldier in front, about to decipher the time-table for gassings.
Another form of gassing really existed in the German camps: this is the fumigation of buildings by gas to exterminate vermin. For this purpose the renowned ZyklonB was used, around which a fantastic legend has been built up. ZyklonB, whose license goes back to 1922, is still used today, notably for the disinfecting of furniture, of barracks, of silos, of ships, but also for the destruction of fox burrows or of pests of all kinds. It is very dangerous to handle for, as the letter “B” indicates, it is “Blausaure” (“blue” acid or prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid). In passing, it is worth noting that the Soviets, misunderstanding the significance of this letter, accused the Germans of having killed deportees with Zyklon A and with Zyklon B!
But let us turn to the alleged homicidal “gas chambers.” Until, the year 1960 1 still believed in the reality of these human abattoirs where, using industrial methods, the Germans would have killed internees in industrial quantities.
Then I learned that certain authors regarded the reality of these “gas chambers” as contestable; among them Paul Rassimer, who had been deported to Buchenwald and then to Dora. These authors ended up by forming a group of historians describing themselves as Revisionists. I studied their arguments. Of course, I also studied the arguments of the official historians. The latter believed in the reality of extermination in the “gas chambers.” They are, if one wishes to so describe them, the “Exterminationists.” For many years I minutely examined the arguments of one and another. I went to Auschwitz, to Majdanek, and to Struthof. I have searched, in vain, for a single person capable of telling me: “I have been interned in such a camp and I have seen there, with my own eyes, a building which was undoubtedly a gas chamber.” I have read many books and documents. For many years, I have studied the archives of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC) at Paris. Obviously, I took a special interest in the so-called “war crimes” cases.
I have devoted very special attention to what has been presented to me as being “admissions” on the part of the SS or of Germans generally. I am not going to enumerate for you here the names of all the specialists whom I have consulted. Strangely enough, it only took a few minutes of conversation before these “specialists” in question would declare to me: “Now, you must know, I am not a specialist on gas chambers. ” And an even more curious thing: there does not exist to this day any book, nor even any article from the Exterminationist school on the subject of the “gas chambers.” I know that perhaps certain titles can be quoted to me, but these titles are deceptive. In reality, in the formidable mountain of writings devoted to the German camps, there exists nothing which concerns their sine qua non: the “gas chambers!” No Exterminationist has written on the “gas chambers.” The most one can say is that Georges Wellers, of the CDJC, attempted to address this subject in an attempt to plead for partial acceptance of the veracity of the Gerstein document, about the Belzec “gas chambers.”
On the other hand, the Revisionists have written quite a lot about the “gas chambers” to say that their existence was dubious, or to affirm frankly that their existence was impossible. My personal opinion is joined to the latter. The existence of the “gas chambers” is completely impossible. My reasons are primarily those which the Revisionists have accumulated in their publications. Next, there are those proofs which I have discovered myself.
I have thought it necessary to start at the beginning. You know that in general it takes a long time to perceive that one actually ought to have begun at the beginning. I realized that all of us would talk of the “gas chambers” as if we knew the sense of these words.
Among all those who make statements, speeches or use sentences in which the expression “gas chamber” appears, how many of those people actually know what they are talking about? It has not taken me very long to realize that many people commit one of the most glaring errors. These people imagine a “gas chamber” as being similar to a mere bedroom under the door of which a household gas is released. These people forget that an execution by gas is by definition profoundly different from a simple suicidal or accidental asphyxiation. In the case of an execution, one must carefully avoid all risk of illness, poisoning or death for the executioner and his crew. Such a risk is to be avoided before, during and after the execution. The technical difficulties implied herein are considerable. I was most anxious to know how domestic minks were gassed, how foxes were gassed in foxholes, and how in the U.S. a person who was sentenced to death was executed by gassing. I have found that, in the vast majority of cases, hydrocyanic acid was used for such purposes. This was precisely the same gas which the Germans used to fumigate their barracks. It was also with this gas that they allegedly killed groups of individuals as well as great masses of people. I have therefore studied this gas. I wanted to know its use in Germany and in France. I have reviewed ministerial documents governing the use of this highly toxic product. I had the good fortune of discovering some documents on ZyklonB and hydrocyanic acid which had been gathered by the Allies in the German industrial archives at Nuremberg.
Then, with greater scrutiny I re-examined certain statements and confessions which had been made in German and Allied courts concerning the use of ZyklonB for putting prisoners to death, and I was shocked. And now, you in turn will also be shocked. I will first read to you the statement or confession of Rudolf Höss. Then, I will tell you the results of my research, purely physical, on hydrocyanic acid and ZyklonB. (Please bear in mind R. Höss was one of the three successive commanding officers at Auschwitz; all three of whom were detained and interrogated by the Allies. Only Höss left a confession, for which we are indebted to his Polish jailers.)
In this confession, the description of the actual gassing is remarkably short and vague. However, it is essential to realize that all those others who claim to have been present at this sort of an operation are also vague and brief and that their statements are full of contradictions on certain points. Rudolf Höss writes, “Half an hour after having released the gas, the door would be opened and the fan turned on. The bodies immediately began to be removed.” I call your attention to the word “immediately”; in German the word is sofort. Höss then adds that the crew in charge of handling and removing 2,000 bodies from the “gas chamber” and transporting them to the crematory ovens did so while “eating or smoking”; therefore, if I understand correctly, these duties were all performed without gas masks. Such a description runs counter to all common sense. It implies that it is possible to enter an area saturated with hydrocyanic acid without taking any precautionary measures in the barehanded handling of 2,000 cyanided cadavers which were probably still contaminated with the fatal gas. The hair (which was supposedly clipped after the operation) was undoubtedly impregnated with the gas. The mucous membranes would have been impregnated also. Air pockets between the bodies which were supposedly heaped one on top of the other would have been filled with the gas. What kind of superpowerful fan is able to instantly disperse so much gas drifting through the air and hidden in air pockets? Even if such a fan had existed, it would have been necessary to perform a test for the detection of any remaining hydrocyanic acid and to develop a procedure for informing the crew that the fan had actually fulfilled its function and that the room was safe. Now, it is abundantly clear from Höss’ description that the fan in question must have been endowed with magical powers in order to be able to disperse all of the gas with such flawless performance so that there was no cause for concern or need for verification of the absence of the gas!
What mere common sense suggested is now confirmed by the technical documents concerning ZyklonB and its usage. In order to fumigate a barrack, the Germans were constrained by numerous precautionary measures: specially trained teams which were licensed only after an internship at a ZyklonB manufacturing plant; special materials including especially the “J” filters which when used in gas masks were capable of protecting an individual under the most rigorous toxic conditions; evacuations of all surrounding barracks; warnings posted in several languages and bearing a skull and cross-bones; a meticulous examination of the site to be fumigated in order to locate and seal any fissures or openings; the sealing of any chimneys or airshafts and the removal of keys from doors. The cans of ZyklonB were opened at the site itself. After the gas had apparently killed all the vermin, the most critical operation would begin: this was the ventilation of the site. Sentries were to be stationed at a certain distance from all doors and windows, their backs to the wind, in order to prevent the approach of all persons. The specially trained crew equipped with gas masks would then enter the building and unclog the chimneys and cracks, and open the windows. This operation completed, they had to go outside again, remove their masks and breathe freely for ten minutes. They had to put their masks on again to re-enter the building and perform the next step. Once all of this work was completed, it was still necessary to wait TWENTY hours. Actually, because ZyklonB was “difficult to ventilate, since it adheres strongly to surfaces,” the dispersion of the gas required a long natural ventilation. This was especially important when great volumes of the gas were employed as in the case of a barrack containing more than one floor. (When ZyklonB was used in an autoclave with a total volume of only 10 cubic meters, ventilation (forced or artificially) was still necessary.) After twenty hours had elapsed, the crew would return with their masks on. They would then verify by means of a paper test (the paper would turn blue in the presence of hydrocyanic acid) as to whether or not the site was indeed again fit for human habitation. And so we see that a site which had been gassed was not safely accessible until a minimum of 21 hours had elapsed. As far as French legislation is concerned, the minimum is set at 24 hours.
It becomes, therefore, apparent that in the absence of a magical fan capable of instantly expelling a gas that is “difficult to ventilate, since it adheres strongly to surfaces,” the “human slaughterhouse” called a “gas chamber” would have been inaccessible for nearly a full day. its walls, floors, ceiling would have retained portions of a gas which was highly poisonous to man. And what about the bodies? These cadavers could have been nothing less than saturated with the gas, just as the cushions, mattresses and blankets discussed in the same technical document on the use of ZyklonB would have been saturated also. These mattresses, etc., had to be taken out of doors to be aired and beaten for an hour under dry atmospheric conditions and for two hours when the weather was humid. When this was accomplished, these items were then heaped together and beaten again if the paper test revealed any further presence of hydrocyanic acid.
Hydrocyanic acid is both inflammable and explosive. How could it then have been used in close proximity to the entrance of crematory ovens? How could one have entered the “gas chamber” while smoking?
I have not yet even touched upon the subject of the superabundance of technical and physical impossibilities which become apparent upon an actual examination of the site and the dimensions of the supposed “gas chambers” at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Moreover, just as an inquisitive fact-finder of the Polish museum may discover, these chambers were in reality nothing more than “cold storage rooms” (mortuaries) and were typical of such rooms both in lay-out as well as size. The supposed “gas chamber” of Krema II at Birkenau, of which there remains only a ruin, was in fact a morgue, located below ground in order to protect it from heat and measuring 30 meters in length and 7 meters down the center to allow for the movement of wagons). The door, the passageways, the freight lift (which measured only 2.10 meters by 1.35 meters) which led to the crematory chamber were all of Lilliputian dimensions in comparison to the insinuations of Höss’s account. According to Höss, the gas chamber could easily accommodate 2,000 standing victims, but had a capacity of 3,000. Can you imagine that? Three thousand people crammed into a space of 210 square meters. In other words, to make a comparison, 286 people standing in a room measuring 5 meters by 4 meters! Do not be deceived into believing that before their retreat the Germans blew up the “gas chambers” and crematory ovens to conceal any trace of their alleged crimes. If one wishes to obliterate all trace of an installation which would be intrinsically quite sophisticated, it must be scrupulously dismantled from top to bottom so that there remains not one shred of incriminating evidence. Destruction by means of demolition would have been ingenuous. If explosives had been employed, mere removal of the concrete blocks would still have left this or that telltale sign. As a matter of fact, Poles of the present day Auschwitz museum have reconstructed the remains of some “Kremas” (meaning, in reality, reconstructions of crematoria and supposed “gas chambers”). However, all of the artefacts shown to tourists attest to the existence of crematory ovens rather than to anything else. If it was the Germans who dynamited those installations (as an army often does in retreat) it was precisely because those installations concealed nothing suspicious. In Majdanek, on the other hand, they left intact installations which were dubbed “gas chambers” after the war.
In the U.S.A. the first execution by gassing took place on 8 February 1924 in the prison of Carson City, Nevada. Two hours after the execution, poison traces were still to be found in the grounds of the prison. Mr. Dickerson, warden of the prison, declared that as far as the condemned man was concerned, the method of execution was certainly the most humane so far used. But he added that he would reject this method in the future because of the danger to the witnesses. Recently, on 22 October 1979, Jesse Bishop was executed by gas at the same prison.
The real gas chambers, such as those created in 1924 and developed by the Americans around 1936-1938 offer some idea of the inherent complexity of such a method of execution. The Americans, for one thing, only gas one prisoner at a time normally (some gas chambers exist, however, which are equipped with two seats for the execution of two brothers, for example). The prisoner is totally immobilized. He is poisoned by the hydrocyanic acid (actually by the dropping of sodium cyanide pellets into a container of sulfuric acid and distilled water which results in release of hydrocyanic acid gas). Within approximately 40 seconds, the prisoner dozes off, and in a few minutes he dies. Apparently, the gas causes no discomfort. As in the case of Zyklon B, it is the dispersion of the gas which causes problems. Natural ventilation for 24 hours is not possible in this case. Obviously, the location of the site of execution precludes such ventilation without seriously endangering the guards as well as other prison inmates. What, then, is the best course of action with a gas which poses such difficult problems of ventilation? The solution is to transform the acidic vapors into a solid salt which can then be flushed out with water. For this purpose, ammonia vapors which are basic are used to react with the acid vapors to form the salt by chemical reaction. When the hydrocyanic acid has all but vanished, a warning signal would alert the attending physician and his aides who are located on the opposite side of a glass barrier. The warning signal is phenolphtalein. It is arranged in containers located at various places in the chamber and turns from pink to purple in the absence of hydrocyanic acid. Once the absence of the poison is indicated and once an arrangement of fans draws the ammonia fumes out through an exhaust vent, the physician and his assistants enter the chamber wearing gas masks. Rubber gloves are used to protect the hands. The doctor ruffles through the convict’s hair so as to brush out any residual hydrocyanic acid. Only after a full hour has elapsed since the death, can the doctor and his assistants enter the chamber. The convict’s body is washed very carefully and the room is hosed down. The ammonia gas has by this time been expelled via a high chimney stack above the prison. Because of the danger to guards who are normally stationed in the prison watch towers, in some prisons the guards are required to leave their post during such an execution. I will just mention the other requirements for a completely air-tight gas chamber such as the need for locks, “Herculite” glass barriers of considerable thickness (because of the risk of implosion since a vacuum has to be made) a vacuum system, mercury valves, etc.
A gassing is not an improvisation. If the Germans had decided to gas millions of people, a complete overhaul of some very formidable machinery would have been absolutely essential. A general order, instructions, studies, commands and plans would surely have been necessary also. Such items have never been found. Meetings of experts would have been necessary: of architects, chemists, doctors, and experts in a wide range of technical fields. Disbursements and allocations of funds would have been necessary. Had this occurred in a state such as the Third Reich, a wealth of evidence would surely have survived. We know, for example, down to the pfennig the cost of the kennel at Auschwitz and of the bay trees which were ordered for the nurseries. Orders for projects would have been issued. Auschwitz and Birkenau would not have been camps where so much coming and going would have been allowed. In fact, it was because of all this to-ing and fro-ing, and in order to prevent any increase in escapes, that it was found necessary for registration numbers to be tattooed onto prisoners’ arms. Civilian workers and engineers would not have been permitted to mingle with the inmates. Passes would not have been granted to Germans in the camp, and their family members would not have had visiting rights. Above all, the prisoners who had served their sentences would not have been released and permitted to return to their respective countries: that well guarded secret among historians was revealed to us several years ago in an article by Louis De Jong, Director of the Institute of World War II History of Amsterdam.
Moreover, in the United States the recent publication of aerial photographs of Auschwitz deals a death blow to the extermination fable: even in the summer of 1944 at the height of the influx of Hungarian Jews, there is no indication of any human pyre or throng of prisoners near the crematorium (but an open gate and a landscaped area are clearly visible) and there is no suspicious smoke (although the smoke stacks of the crematoria reportedly spewed forth flames continuously that were visible from a distance of several kilometers both day and night).
I will conclude with a comment on what I regard as the criterion of false evidence regarding the gas chambers. I have noticed that all of these statements, vague and inconsistent as they are, concur on at least one point: the crew responsible for removing the bodies from the “gas chambers” entered the site either “immediately” or a “few moments” after the deaths of the victims. I contend that this point alone constitutes the cornerstone of the false evidence, because this is a physical impossibility. If you encounter a person who believes in the existence of the “gas chambers,” ask him how, in his opinion, the thousands of cadavers were removed to make room for the next batch.